The 3qtr Marathon! Longwood,Co Meath. When is a race not a race?

Maurice McCrohan: My running has reached the stage of   wanting to drink a cup from the Elixir of Age! That is a longing for the next age group milestone in order to remain competitive.  I enjoyed a comeback marathon in Dublin 2017,which gained me  age group qualification for New York 2018 and a return to the Big Apple,  some 11 years  on from a 3;01!.

I am a month away from a return to New York. The 3qtr Marathon was my final race .but is it a race? Is it a just a  LSR (long slow run) with bells on? The organisers and seemingly most entrants view this event as a final warm up for Dublin. The organisers suggest it is run with the reins on as they say! Hold a bit back!

Can a race ever not be a race? Can you hold back when the gun goes and you pass the first water station? When you pass a group do you push on? When you are overtaken by a GAA top, can you not resist the urge to take on these interlopers!

All this and more went through my head yesterday. The venue is very convenient .Less than an hour from home, just passed Enfield M4 (I have a mate who moved from Enfield London to Enfield Meath? How bizarre is that?) Parking is easy to find and you don’t get boxed in after! I arrived at RACE HQ to be met with a mad MC doing a one man sing, dance, information routine. Changing facilities, showers and copious amounts of Tayto Crisp sandwiches post-race. What more could a runner want? Well this runner with genetic high cholesterol probably should not want a feast of crisp sandwiches! But needs must after a 2.24 Run!

The runners are more relaxed than normal race events. This is not the main target for most if not all the participants. Three or four weeks before the main event, this is ideal preparation. There were pacer balloons for 3hour marathon .3, 30 and may be a 4hour group also.

I  set off behind the 3hour pacers.I know in my heart and my head my  sub 3  days are gone.So,old sensible head said hang back. That’s what I did. The only downside was I ran on my own .No group to hang in .So, mentally it was a good run. The course is picturesque through Meath country side. A little undulating, but no major hills.

As mentioned above, the crisps sandwiches,as well as the  tea and hot showers hit the mark. It’s a run, race, event that I recommend as part of the autuimn marathon schedule.

My running network has pulled me through some difficult times at home in the last year. From Clonliffe, Declan “who needs a coach”? Power, who called round to get me back jogging, Kieran Murphy who supported our family  when we were at Beaumont Hospital .Kieran  also for  hammering me on his infamous “Kieran surges”  up the Khyber pass on our so called long slow runs! Jeremy Chapman for wise counsel and support at the Hague Half.

Clonliffe sessions and Grand Prix races gave me focus. The Garda HQ Sunday group were a great incentive to get me out of bed on a Sunday.TT Racers group lunchtime group, most of whom I know more by tee shirt, running gait, and breathing pattern than name were as important twice a week.

I am running the New York Marathon on 4th November 2018 to raise funds for the Friends of St Luke’s Beaumont/Rathgar.I attach below the link to the fundraising page. My family will really appreciate any donations.


Maurice “mo” McCrohan